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Rave and jungle on UK pirate radio

(June 1998)

All through the Nineties, London’s ‘ardkore rave and jungle pirate stations have disrupted the decorum of the FM airwaves with their vulgar fervour and rude-boy attitude. Pirate DJ’s unleash a mad multi-generic mash-up of hip hop breakbeats, dub-reggae bass and Euro-rave synth-bombast. The MC surfs this polyrhythmic pandemonium with a freestyle Dada-doggerel of druggy buzzwords, party-hard exhortations and outlaw war-cries: sublime “nonsense” that is purely invocatory, designed to bind its scattered addressees into a community, mobilise it into an army.

London’s jungle pirates come and go, but at any time of year, you can scan the frequency-band at the weekend and find at least a dozen. There are many more illegal stations in the capital, and throughout Britain, representing other dance-genres neglected by mainstream radio: dancehall reggae, soul, house & garage, rap, and so forth. Some regard themselves as a providers of a community service, like North London reggae station Station FM, with its anti-drug messages and funki-dread positivity. And some are so well-organised and well-behaved they’re like independent commercial radio stations that just haven’t bothered to secure a licence, like Dream FM in Leeds, with its 24/7 transmissions and stringent rules about no swearing on air, no drugs in the studio, no playing of records containing drug references.(read more…)

Simon Reynolds

other links:
blissblog – the Simon ‘grime’ Reynolds’s blog
Blackdown – dubstep..grime..comment..culture

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